No matter your age or your profession, it’s likely that you’ll want to invest in a tailored suit at some point in time. Although half of senior managers interviewed in a recent survey said their employees wear less formal clothing now than they did five years ago, a smart suit jacket or fitted blazer will never really go out of style. They can, however, be a poor fit.
When you buy designer suits off the rack or purchase men’s professional attire that wasn’t custom-made to fit your frame, you might realize you’ve got some fit problems. And unfortunately, wearing an ill-fitting suit jacket can make a poor first impression.
Struggling to figure out whether your blazer actually fits or not? Try out the four tests below.
This one’s really the easiest of the four to test out, and it’s one you should definitely do if you’re buying men’s professional attire in a department store.
Standing in front of a mirror, put out your arm as if you’re about to shake hands. Pay attention to how the jacket feels on you as you do this. If you feel like the blazer is being pulled off you as you shake imaginary hands, the length of the jacket sleeves is off.
Most likely, the arm holes are too low. Since this would require an immense amount of tailoring (if fixing it is even possible), you should find a different fit — or invest in a made to measure suit.
Here’s another way to tell whether something is amiss with your jacket sleeves. Let your arms hang at your sides in a relaxed position. Then, curl your fingers as if you’re going to grab some dumbbells. This should make it so the sleeve of your jacket ends right at your natural wrist, with approximately half an inch of your dress shirt exposed underneath.
See too much or too little of the shirt cuff? You’re going to need a different jacket (or possibly invest in some men’s tailoring, if the issue can be fixed).
Now we’ll move from the sleeves up to the shoulders themselves. This is one of the most important spots to look for fit because it’s nearly impossible to fix the shoulders.
The seam of a jacket’s shoulders should actually fit right on with your natural shoulder without being loose or tight. If a jacket is too tight in the shoulders, you’ll probably figure that out right away. But assessing whether it’s too big can be a bit harder.
A blazer that’s too big will develop a telltale divot in the shoulder area. An easy way to spot this is to stand so that your shoulder is facing a wall and to lean slowly towards it, as if you’re coming in close to hear it whisper something to you. Should the shoulder pad in your jacket touch the wall before your body actually does, that means there’s a divot and that the jacket’s too big for you.
Finally, you can now figure out whether your blazer fits your torso and chest. Testing this is simple enough. Stand in front of a mirror and wrap your arms around your torso to give yourself a little hug. When you do this, you should feel comfortable. If your jacket feels tight — so much so that you’re afraid of damaging it — it’s definitely too small for you.
This really goes for other pieces of clothing as well, like dress shirts and vests. You’ll feel and look much better in men’s professional attire that actually fits you properly, rather than trying to squeeze into a size that’s too restrictive.
Now that you know how a blazer or suit jacket should fit, you can make better purchasing decisions when you’re shopping. Better yet, you can seek out assistance from a local haberdasher who can make customized professional garments just for you. By investing in some men’s professional attire that’s tailored to your body from the start, you’ll always be assured that your clothing fits you exactly the way it should.